Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 1)

I expected 2009 to be a relatively quiet year in Iowa politics, but was I ever wrong.

The governor’s race heated up, state revenues melted down, key bills lived and died during the legislative session, and the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Varnum v Brien became one of this state’s major events of the decade.

After the jump I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from January through June 2009. Any comments about the year that passed are welcome in this thread.

Although I wrote a lot of posts last year, there were many important stories I didn’t manage to cover. I recommend reading Iowa Independent’s compilation of “Iowa’s most overlooked and under reported stories of 2009,” as well as that blog’s review of “stories that will continue to impact Iowa in 2010.”

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Welcoming wishes for Iowa Democratic Party field director Dena Gleason

The Iowa Democratic Party announced yesterday that Dena Gleason will be field director for the 2009/2010 election cycle. From the IDP’s press release:

“Grassroots organizing has been the foundation of recent successful Democratic campaigns. Dena learned the value of these techniques while working for now President Barack Obama. She will be a key player in implementing a field strategy to mobilize the thousands of new Democratic registrants and volunteers recruited over the last two election cycles,” said Michael Kiernan, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. “Dena brings with her cutting edge organizational techniques that were used so successfully to elect President Obama. I am excited to welcome Dena to the team as we prepare to re-elect Governor Culver and the Democratic Ticket.”  

Gleason, originally from southern Minnesota, worked for President Obama during the primary in Iowa, Kansas, Texas and Pennsylvania. She returned to Iowa in the general election to continue her work for President Obama. Most recently Dena worked for SEIU’s Change that Works where she mobilized health care supporters across Iowa.

I would like to congratulate Gleason and wish her every success in her new job. I have a few other wishes too:

May Culver and our legislative leaders remember that Gleason can’t wave a magic wand and deliver an effective GOTV campaign.

May Iowa leaders motivate newly-registered Democrats to vote in a non-presidential year by showing them tangible results from Democratic control of the legislature and governor’s chair. Many big problems in this state haven’t been addressed during the past three legislative sessions.

May legislative leaders excite key constituencies about volunteering next year–for instance, by passing a good labor bill and moving forward instead of backward on environmental protection. I currently hear a lot of “Why should I bother?” from experienced phone bankers and door knockers.

May Gleason’s field plan prioritize legislative districts we won and lost by narrow margins in 2008, so that Democrats are not left wondering what might have been parts of the state where Democratic turnout was weak last year.

May Gleason learn from the Obama campaign’s mistakes as well as its successes, so that field organizers and volunteers do more to educate new voters about filling out the whole ballot.

Please share your own welcoming wishes in this thread.

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